Microsoft Pioneer Leaves $65M to Gay Rights Groups

Gates' high school pal leaves a record gift
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2008 6:07 AM CST
Microsoft Pioneer Leaves $65M to Gay Rights Groups
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates gestures while speaking at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008. Ric Weiland, who left $65 million to gay rights groups, helped Gates and Paul Allen launch the company. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)   (Associated Press)

One of the first five Microsoft employees has left $65 million of his estate to gay rights groups, the Seattle Times reports. Ric Weiland, who helped high school friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen launch Microsoft, committed suicide in 2006 at age 53. His donation is believed to be the largest estate gift ever given to the country’s gay and lesbian community.

Weiland bequeathed $19 million to Seattle’s Pride Foundation to expand its work and another $46 million to 10 other organizations, including Lambda Legal Defense and Education Network, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Most of Weiland’s gifts are unrestricted, which will allow the groups to use the funds where they’re most needed. He also left an estimated $60 million to Stanford University. (More Microsoft stories.)

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